Reviews of Vintage Veronica
Almost 16, Veronica has lied about her age to get a job at the largest used-clothing store in the Northeast
(“The Original Dollar-a-Pound!”). Veronica separates the wheat from the chaff, marking the true vintage
for the “Real Deal” floor. Despite her weight, Veronica has an eye for fashion, which manifests itself in
crinolines and bowling shirts (together) and sketching. She catches the eye of several of her coworkers,
including mean girls Zoe and Ginger and a thin, twitchy guy she thinks of as the Nail. In her first novel,
Perl masterfully sets her scene. The store, with its giant chute dumping clothes into “the pile” for the
customers (aka “the pickers”), is almost a character in itself. But the author is also quite adept at writing
people, especially the reptile-loving Nail, whose rejections and longings match Veronica’s. With her
pigtails, bulk, and hybrid outfits, it’s hard to envision Veronica as the fashion icon others admire. But her
story is filled with emotions (and language!) that are both earthy and real, and a romance that’s as
complicated as it is sweet.
Veronica may be overweight, but she's got enviable fashion sense and style. She works at the Clothing Bonanza—a giant vintage clothing warehouse where her talent as a guide to all things old school, funky, and valuable turns a profit—which provides a wonderfully fun backdrop for Perl's (Chicken Butt!) first YA novel. Veronica can't stop stuffing down doughnuts and regretting the same, but although the 15-year-old has been something of a outcast (“if you ARE a fat girl, you're not really risking much socially to become The Fat Girl Who Dresses Weird”), she finds herself gaining friends at work, including the weird yet strangely appealing Lenny, one of the many quirky staffers. As romance blossoms, Veronica navigates new feelings of insecurity, juggles multiple friendships, and considers whether or not she might be beautiful after all. Though Veronica has many self-esteem issues on which she regularly comments, the sense of humor running throughout her narration rarely allows the story to fall into woe-is-me territory. Readers may want to scour local vintage haunts after finishing this one—and wish they could bring Veronica along.
School Library Journal’s Curriculum Connections
Viciously teased about her weight in fifth grade, Veronica, now 15, avoids making friends in Erica S. Perl’s Vintage Veronica (Knopf, 2010; Gr 9 Up). Her solitary summer job sorting antique finds from the piles of ratty duds at Clothing Bonanza fits her perfectly. “I barely have to interact with anyone, which suits me just fine. I just deal with the clothes, which is great because I’m all about the clothes. I’ll take clothes over people any day of the week.” Veronica’s own fabulously eccentric vintage wardrobe provides emotional armor as she slurps down mocha smoothies and avoids her thin wisp of a mother. When Zoe and Ginger, deviously charming co-workers, recruit her to spy on frail stock boy Len, Veronica’s life takes a tangled turn as espionage turns to romance and she uncovers tragic secrets in Len's life. Reptiles, bargain hunters, and quirky characters style this humorous story of an overweight teen concerned with more than weight loss. Fashionistas will adore Veronica’s eye for vintage apparel and flea-market chic.
School Library Journal
Emily Chornomaz, Brooklyn Public Library, NY
Veronica plans to spend summer vacation working alone in the employees-only consignment section of Clothing Bonanza and drinking mocha smoothies from the donut shop next door. She's content spending her time avoiding people and ogling the fabulous vintage garments that she's separated from the heaps of ratty clothing. Veronica has successfully avoided making friends for a couple of years since a supposed friend teased her about her larger-than-average appetite. So when two pushy and charismatic coworkers begin to notice her, Veronica is not sure how to handle it. While following the girls' plan to spy on the stock boy, Len, Veronica finds herself having a summer she never expected. He introduces her to romance, reptiles, and, unfortunately, regret. Vintage Veronica provides a realistic snapshot of teen dating, dotted with descriptions of some adorable-sounding outfits and filled with well-rounded characters from a variety of subcultures. The protagonist is a self-described "fat girl" who is not obsessed with losing weight—a much-needed character in young adult fiction. An enjoyable read filled with quirky characters.
A very special thanks to the blogging bookworms who championed Vintage Veronica!
Thrilled to have Vintage Veronica included on Mitali’s “List of YA novels that Battle Bullying”
Loved Lauren Myracle's recommendation: "Girlfriends? You will *love* this book!"
Thanks to E. Lockhart for her enthusiastic endorsement: “Clothes and character, humor and complicated friendships and even a little romance. What more can you want?”